Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I'm Giving up Starbucks

To say that I love Starbucks is a serious understatement.

I'm a freakin' gold card member.  Yes, that's right, I'll publicly admit it.  I buy enough coffees from there a month that I have a gold card.  Oh, it's not even 50 bucks a  month (or so I think).  I excuse my excessive middle class addiction because "I don't buy a lot of clothes, I don't buy any make-up, so this is my one thing."

Lately, with all the reading I've been doing about sex trafficking and the plight of women around the globe [ex: Half the Sky] these 5 dollar a pop drinks are not going down as smoothly.  I keep saying I want to make a difference, but do I really?  I mean, if it's going to cost me my convenient comforts.. am I really willing to count the cost?


We give what we can, we work in ministry ourselves, but seriously, can't I have my guilt-free earl grey tea latte and find other ways to make a difference?


But I'm gonna start right here.  I've thought about cutting back on buying coffee out because, well, it's pricey.  The reality is, I don't want to just 'cut back' in order to save myself a buck.  I want to cut back and make a difference.  

And how am I going to make a difference in big world problems if I'm not willing to make even a small personal sacrifice?  Do I think changes are made on a large scale if I am not willing to be inconvenienced, even minutely, for someone else's good?

This idea has been rolling around in my head for awhile, but I've been quick to push it aside.  

So I'll declare it publicly here in order to make me do what my heart is already saying it should:  I'm not only going to stop drinking coffee from Starbucks (ouch), but I am going to put that $50 a month I spend towards a cause.  Not sure which one yet, maybe more towards International Justice Mission. [Suggestions?]  I'll let you know when I pick so I'm fully accountable.

Here's my hope: every time I crave a coffee out, I'll pray for those girls around the globe who not only don't get convenient luxuries like fancy coffees, but are forced, against their will, to prostitute their bodies so that they have food to eat and life for another day.  

Maybe 50 bucks a month ain't much, but believe you me, this creature comfort is hard to break.  Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE me my coffee.  
So, it actually feels like 'a lot.'  

Sigh.  I'll miss you Starbucks.   Especially at 4:45 in the morning on my way to a 12 hour day shift.  Or on the way to the class that I teach.  Or going for a walk with two draining boys.

p.s. This isn't going to be some religious, hard-nosed, legalistic thing.  But in order for it to be possible for me to give 50 bucks a month, something else has to give and I can think of no better solution.

[Then I start thinking about taking personal vacations and I really start to wonder about my priorities.  That will be a different post].

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Some Days

Some days are better stuffed in a bag, thrown in the corner, and jumped on.

I don't meant to sound so negative, (positive thinking and all that).   Yes I need to be more thankful, yes I need to find joy in this season, but on a day like today, "be more________ [insert any positive quality]" just sounds even more impossible.  I'm barely surviving the day, let alone accomplishing any great character feat.

"Find joy?"  How about bang my head against the wall until I forget where I am (that sounds more achievable).    

Today was one of those days that having small children feels like a very slow death.  

It should, I suppose.  I want to die to selfishness, to pride, etc.  It should be hard, because it's valuable.  It should be work, because I'm helping shape lives, not play dough.  Parenting should be tiring, because unconditional love requires it to be.  Demands it to be.

But what I would say to today is:

I'm glad you are over.  

Some days I don't know who to be mad at, but I'm just mad.  Mad that it's raining.  Mad that I am stuck looking at my four walls.  Mad that my kids won't stop needing and wanting, fighting and crying, whining and clinging. Mad that I am the one that all the needs rest on.  Mad that I'm mad. 

Some days I am close to screaming, tearing my hair out, bursting into gut-wrenching sobs, or tying my two sons together and leaving the house.  

Some days I just feel bitter.

Some days I wish I was 'out there,' wherever that is, and 'not here.'

Some days I feel like I'm being spun out, pounded down, and run over (twice).   

Some days, I need someone to just come here with me, and say that this is hard, and that it's okay to admit it.  And that I don't have to always love this path I longed for and chose.  

But most days, most days I just feel guilty.  Guilty that I don't love this season.  Guilty that I would even want more children (?) or want to be a force for change in the lives of orphaned and homeless children when I am struggling to love my own.  Guilty because their lives are precious, and if something ever happened to them wouldn't I regret every moment I didn't love them to the fullest?

For now, I'll sit and just be relieved that tomorrow is another day.  More reason to be thankful for His grace as I learn to be gracious, and thankful for His love when I am the least loving.

{Thanks for this post.  It made me laugh and feel human}.

on the subject of Books

When it comes to reading books, I'm a little ADD.  

My library fines are sky-high and I always have a dozen books on the go at once.  No wonder I can't remember anything and lose track of my phone 5 times a day.  To focus on one book at a time is, well, impossible.

On my bedside table alone I have this pile of books that I would all say I'm reading:

Love Does by Bob Goff

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn (just got it from the library!)

Grace Based Parenting,  by Tim Kimmel [soon to become my parenting manifesto, so good, so challenging) p.s. who did I borrow this from?  I can't remember!

Unworthy Creature by Aruna Papp

Eat & Run by Scott Jurek - some great information about living a vegan lifestyle (and being a high-performance athlete)

and an interesting novel:

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

I really have very little time to read, but yet I insist on keeping many books half open.  I'm eager to dive into Half the Sky as it's come highly recommended and the subject matter is heavy on my heart, but books like "grace based parenting" can't be plowed through.  It needs to be thought on, prayed over, notes need to be taken etc.  But then I always like having a 'light' read before I fall asleep and can't usually read deep subject matter or else I'll be up late fretting and guilt ridden.

If only I could read and cook dinner at the same time?  

Anyone else have reading ADD?  or Do you read one at a time?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On my heart

Things that are shaping my heart lately:

I read this blog post about the reality for many orphans in orphanages.

I discovered this ministry reaching out to impoverished, family-less children in Haiti.

I watched this documentary on gendercide at an event hosted at TWU.  

I watched this video about the same issue.

and I signed a petition for this bill to be presented to our house of commons by our local MP Mark Warawa requesting that Canada officially take a stand against gendercide. 

I'm memorizing this scripture for this year:
"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27

Not sure I can be blind much longer to the plight of orphans or the loss of innocent girls' lives because of abortion, infanticide, and sex trafficking. 

What about you?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Worked On

Demand. Demand. Demand.  Look at me! Feed me! Pick me up!  Be excited! Be frustrated with me! Fix this!  Show me! Love me!  Feed me! Change me!  Rescue me!

I'm like a piece of dough. 

Being hammered with requests, prodded, pounded on, pulled out, pushed, mashed, rolled and flattened by these two lives with all their needs.

Requests and whining, pushing and shoving, crying and yelling, BAM.  I'm thrown to the counter again.

I literally feel like I might explode today.  I cannot possibly receive any more input.  How can they demand so much of me?  I just want to be left alone.

I feel like screaming.  Locking myself in a room and ignoring the mess.  Will small hands stop kneading and prodding me?

But then I read something like this:
"Here's where parenting can help us take that next step in spiritual formation, for parenting certainly exposes an ill-tempered or touchy disposition like nothing else.  To be a parent is to be provoked.  Kids regularly tend to bring out the best and the worst in us.  If we have an ill-temper, if we're touchy or edgy, raising children will certainly reveal our weakness....Are we modeling to our children the spirit of Christ that responds to others the same way he did- with gentleness and patience?  No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianize society than evil temper.  For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up mena nd women, for taking the bloom off childhood; in short, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence stands alone." - Gary Thomas from Sacred Parenting

Oh God.  These lives are shaping my character but it's not nearly as fun as it sounds. My attitude stinks.  Is it their fault I stayed up until midnight working on "my work" and greeted the day with fatigue and annoyance?  Is it their fault I desire clutter-free living more than granting un-divided love & attention to them?  Is it their fault they have needs that my role is specifically designed to meet?  Is it their fault I asked for them in the first place?

Forgive me God, I want to love like you do: selflessly, completely, wholeheartedly, and unconditionally.

If only it wasn't so stinkin' hard...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Grace for the Season

The highway of my life is thick with traffic.  I'm not yet wearied, I'm right in the tension of the goodness of hard work and the terror of "is this too much?"  I'm pushed, I'm stretched, I'm running, I'm breathing heavy but I'm alive and it feels good.  I consider myself to be blessed to be counted on, to be used, to be growing.  I am loving the ridiculous load of things on my plate but find the greatest blessing on my knees:  "God, I can't teach this class this week!  God, I can't face this conflict at work.  God, I can't face this 3 year old without losing my temper."

My mind is spent, my body is tired, but my spirit is energized, and I soldier on.

How does a mother, a wife, a teacher, a nurse, a friend, a learner, an event planner, a ministry leader, find green pastures?  In the whirr of thoughts, in the pounding of feet on pavement, in the thinking and planning, helping and serving, worrying and researching...

...there is a grace.

A grace I remember when I see spring buds blooming.  A grace in the impish face of my 1 year old.  A grace in the visit of a friend, in the moments of pure laughter with jumping, running boys.  A grace in a sweet walk with my husband.

A grace in the arms of my savior.

This grace carries me as I fumble and fret, make mistakes and get back up again.  I am growing and the grace of Him waters my soul.  It's okay that I am not perfect.  Have I ever admitted that to myself before?  It's okay that my growth is a process.  Why have I never seen this? It's okay that I'm not done yet.

Maybe for the first time in my life, I feel released from fear that I might not perform as well as I had imagined.  I'm teaching first year university students and most weeks I am barely hanging on.  What a ride!  What a learning curve!  What mistakes I've made (and they've told me).  I'm humbled, overwhelmed  but strangely unafraid.  My performance doesn't dictate God's love for me.  I can be free to learn, to grow, to develop, to work harder than I have before.

But in the crazy work there is a quiet. A stillness.  A knowledge deep inside that I am loved.  In the busyness, in the sweating and planning, there is freedom to grow without fear of failure.

Grace. Sweet Jesus, I love your grace.
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